Fighting CAD in Rural India – Saving our Youth

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | February 9th, 2017

Jadhav was a 48 year old mechanic living a perfectly happy life. He was young, he felt he was at the peak of his life and in pink of health and had nothing to worry about at all. He lived with his wife and kid and was extremely popular in his village, where he was born and had lived all his life. This village was in one of India’s remotest corner, and people here were pretty much cut off from everything modern. Everyone knew him as the happy-go-lucky guy who always had a good word for everyone and a smile for his customers. Jadhav was also notorious for his tobacco-chewing habit, a habit he picked up as a teenager and had no plans of quitting anytime soon.

However, all of this was about to change. Jadhav’s perfect life was shattered the day he experienced a severe chest pain and had to be taken to the local hospital. Preliminary tests revealed that over the years, Jadhav had developed various chest and heart related symptoms, which he had ignored, mainly because he was unaware of the symptoms of heart diseases and hence, had no idea he was suffering from any. Thus, it came as a shock to him, when doctors told him that he was suffering from Myocardial Infraction (MI). His local hospital could only do so much, given that there were no modern facilities available in this rural village and the doctors were not heart specialists, and after providing him with the initial treatment, they referred him to Sparsh Hospital for further treatment. When Jadhav reached Sparsh hospital, he was in for an even bigger shock, something that would change the course of his life.

Dr. Rajesh and Dr. Chiran at Sparsh treated Jadhav and found that he was suffering from severe triple vessel disease and diffuse CAD. His heart function was low and in addition to this, one of his heart valves was leaking as a result of his heart attack and CAD! Jadhav required immediate surgery and he underwent a coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) operation with endarterectomy (a procedure where the blocks are removed before connecting a bypass graft). This second procedure was necessary as the block was so diffused there was no place for the cardiac surgeons to connect the bypass!
The difficult part was now over and from here on Jadhav was on the path to recovery. He has gained back his strength and is recovering well – very soon he will be able to go back to earning his livelihood.

Now, there are two reasons why we narrated Jadhav’s story here.

First, this is a success story – for both Jadhav and Sparsh Hospital. This story proves that advancement in healthcare has come as a boon to everyone and such facilities are available not only to people from big cities but also residents of remote villages. This story goes on to show that accurate medical procedures when administered at the right time can help save a person’s life.

Second, this story is an eye-opener for all of us. Jadhav was only 48 and he was from a remote village, where people had probably never heard of such diseases, when he was diagnosed with CAD and had to undergo a bypass grafting surgery. This unfortunately brings us face-to-face with the alarming truth that heart diseases and heart attacks are no longer “the disease of the old”. A lot of young people like Jadhav (48 is not an age to suffer heart diseases!) are succumbing to heart diseases and people from both cities and villages are being affected by it. The alarming rate at which heart diseases are affecting our youth should be a cause of concern for everyone.

Coronary Artery Disease – Good to know facts

What is CAD?
Our heart needs constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to function properly and these are carried to it by blood passing through pipes called Coronary arteries. Sometimes fat gets deposited within the walls of these arteries to form a “Plaque”. The plaque builds over a period of time and causes obstruction to the flow of blood. The heart starts to suffer from the reduced blood supply and this causes Coronary Heart Disease.

What causes CAD?
Coronary disease begins when the inner layer of the coronary artery gets damaged. This damage can be caused by the following factors:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Physical Inactivity

Once the damage begins, it gets fairly easy for the fatty deposits to accumulate in these arteries, which are again nothing but buildup of cholesterol and other cellular waste products. This process is called atherosclerosis.  All of this can lead to a fatal heart attack.

Lifestyle changes that help prevent CAD:
The five relatively easier and healthy lifestyle habits are:

  • A healthy diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce stress

Jadhav could have avoided all of this if he had more information right from the beginning. Unfortunately, he did not, but that should not be your excuse. Know everything you need to know on how to protect your heart and keep it healthy and ensure that you pass on the information to those who may not have access to such information.